In technical jargon and therefore aseptic, one speaks of cross or cross-over transplants. Two distant countries, Italy and Portugal, two patients waiting for a kidney, but the one offered by a relative with infinite generosity is not compatible. All seems lost, but no: the data of both are entered into a large network with the details of thousands of people and clicks, a beep reveals that “match found”, which means hope, life, start dreaming again and plans to forge and think about a future.

This is the story that links Vicenza, the San Bortolo Hospital and the Portuguese city of Porto to the Centro Hospitalar e Universitàrio: it is the fifth international organ exchange that Italy is organizing with foreign countries, the first four all with Spain and the first with Portugal. The rush of this clicking drives the preparations and July 22nd is the date of several explantations and transplants from one Cao to another in the Mediterranean.

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In Italy, a 45-year-old woman was transplanted at Vicenza Hospital’s Kidney Transplant Center, led by Dr. operates. Fiorella Gastaldon, must preserve the kidney. Her donor, a family member, a 53-year-old man was immunologically incompatible. The Vicenza couple was therefore included in the KEP-SAT (Kidney Exchange Program – South Transplant Alliance), the international cross-over transplant program that unites Italy, Spain and Portugal, and at some point the matching algorithm identified Porto as a couple whom it mutual compatibility existed.

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Thanks to a complex intervention planning and logistics managed by the National Transplant Center, the Veneto Regional Transplant Center and the Portuguese institutions, the Italian donor’s kidney could be removed in Vicenza and transplanted in Porto in a 41-year-old man while the Italian patient received one of a 36-year-old woman transplanted a donated kidney. The organs were removed from both centers simultaneously on the morning of July 20th. The Portuguese kidney arrived at Treviso Airport at 2:10 p.m. aboard a Lusitanian Air Force flight: the military handed over the organ to the Veneto regional transplant coordinator, Dr. Giuseppe Feltrin, and received the Italian kidney in return. The 118 from Vicenza immediately transported the organ to San Bortolo, where the transplant began immediately. Both surgeries were successful and all recipients and donors went home in excellent condition.

82 cross-over transplants

“With the Vicenza intervention, 82 kidney transplants have already been performed in Italy in recent years thanks to ‘crossover’ exchanges between incompatible couples, both national and international,” explains the Director of the National Transplant Center. Massimo Cardillo. “In the first seven months of 2023 we have already reached the number of transplants of 2022, namely a good 9, and the chains have participated in 7 hospitals: Pisa, Novara, Parma, Roma Gemelli, Roma Tor Vergata and Padova and Vicenza. “ These are figures that demonstrate the success of a program that gives hope to patients with very difficult transplantation capacity, thanks to an important work of coordination and integration between different centers, which makes it possible to obtain common results for the benefit of those who are still in transplantation are waiting list”.

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